The Independent National Electoral Commission is considering making the National Identity Number a precondition for registering voters when the continuous voter registration exercise commences in a few weeks, The PUNCH reports.
A national commissioner at INEC disclosed this during an interview with the newspaper on Tuesday.
He said the NIN would help tackle underage voting challenges, alien voting and other challenges associated with registration.
The national commissioner, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak, said a final decision would soon be reached.
The INEC official explained that the permanent voter card was only supposed to be in use for a maximum of 10 years, adding that most countries rely on a national database and not the Permanent Voter Card for voting.
He said, “The NIN is the ideal. When we want to begin the continuous voter registration, we may consider it because a national identity card should be used for voting. When the PVC was introduced, it was meant to be in use for ten years, and the assumption was that within those ten years, the national identity card would be in use by a majority of Nigerians.
“I can tell you that the NIN will be one of the preconditions for registration when the CVR starts. We are trying to harmonise all databases.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Nick Dazang, said he could not say if the NIN would be a precondition for registration, adding that meetings were still ongoing.
He said once a final decision had been made, INEC would officially inform Nigerians.
When asked if the NIN would be made compulsory for new registrants, Dazang said, “When we reach the bridge, we will cross it. For now, we have not announced the date for the registration exercise to begin and the conditionality. When we are ready, the commission will announce the procedure for the continuous voter registration, so the commission has not decided in respect of that.”
The INEC director said the commission was also looking at ensuring that the registration is done amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
INEC has not registered any Nigerian in over two years, a development which civil society groups have criticised.
In November, the commission announced that the registration exercise would begin in the first quarter of 2021.